Pushing himself away from the railing he resumes his professional stance. “I need to walk the perimeter, then we should get some sleep. Wait for me inside.”
When I don’t move he sighs with exasperation. “If you want my help you’re going to have to do what I tell you at some point.”
“I know. I’m sorry,” I respond. I pause, reluctant to anger him further, but afraid to go into the house alone. “Could I walk with you?” My eyes plead silently.
Clearly frustrated he replies, “I don’t know if it’s safe for you out here.”
“Please,” I beg.
With another sigh he relents. As we round the corner of the house he grabs a flashlight with such force the table it had been on shakes. I really need to stop defying him. There’s no reason he needs to put up with my childish behavior and I can’t risk him leaving.
With me trailing behind him we slowly move along the edge of the woods, stopping periodically. The moon is full and lights up the yard, but the forest around us is black. About halfway he hesitates, listening. He shines his light into the trees and a small animal scurries away.
Finding nothing of concern he crosses the yard, intent on searching under the porch. In the middle of the small yard I stop abruptly, noticing for the first time how many stars are visible. A memory flashes through my mind, an image more than a thought.
I see myself as a child, peering through a telescope on the balcony of my parents’ room. My mother is behind me, one hand resting on my back while the other points toward the sky, helping me find the constellation I’m looking for. As she draws the outline of Sagittarius she tells me the myth of the centaur Chiron. I had been enthralled by the tale, how he had been accidentally wounded by Hercules’ arrow, suffering great pain before giving up his immortality to free Prometheus. His sacrifice had always fascinated me.
Examining the night sky I find the stars easily now, having practiced many times over the years. Looking between the heavens and the man who has come to protect me I shudder involuntarily. Surely I am just being fanciful wondering whether Caleb would also need to sacrifice for my freedom.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Constellation and is part of something longer I am working on.
This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Else Do I Discover in the Picture?